Uncle Ben’s is finally getting a much-needed makeover, marking the move as one of the first steps towards racial inclusivity within the company’s business strategy.
According to an announcement on its website, Mars Food will drop “Uncle” from the brand’s name for the new Ben’s Original logo, along with removing the caricature of the fictitious trusting gray-haired Black servant smiling on the box. Customers will see the new packaging will hit shelves as soon as early 2021.
Apparently, the company received feedback from thousands of customers and associates over the course of several weeks to ditch the racist imagery (think: Aunt Jemima) from the rice brand. “We understand the inequities that were associated with the name and face of the previous brand and as we announced in June, we have committed to change,” said Fiona Dawson, Global President Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers.
Mars Food will also initiate a nation-wide outreach program ensuring “underserved communities have access to the nutritious meals we all deserve.” They mean poor Black communities…which is totally not performative at all.
“We will also help culinary entrepreneurs of all colors get educational opportunities so their ideas and voices can be appreciated by all. This work will begin in the U.S., where we will partner with National Urban League to support aspiring Black chefs through scholarships, and we will then expand our efforts to support other underserved communities around the world.
In addition, in Greenville, Mississippi – where our brand has been produced in the U.S. for more than 40 years – we will invest to address issues that have plagued this region of the U.S. for generations. This programming will focus on enhancing educational opportunities for more than 7,500 area students, as well as furthering access to fresh foods.”
This is cute, but Uncle Ben’s has been on American grocery shelves for over seven decades and this is the best they can do?